|Publication number||US2217394 A|
|Publication date||Oct 8, 1940|
|Filing date||Feb 6, 1939|
|Priority date||Feb 6, 1939|
|Publication number||US 2217394 A, US 2217394A, US-A-2217394, US2217394 A, US2217394A|
|Inventors||Arthur M Wengel|
|Original Assignee||Ray O Vac Co|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (16), Classifications (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
I A M. WENGEL HOD FDR TESTIIG mi Filed Feb. 8, 193a l l l 1 l 3 f 1000 2000 am 4000 m 6000, E" agency P I a? v fiz erziar" afi'fiun/l zaggel 'l '1 I 1 Jr J Oct. A. M. wanes. 2,217,394
med Feb. 5, 1959 ammo e2 2 .IIM:
Patented 8, 1940 PATENT OFFICE 2,217,394 METHOD AND APPARATUS non 'rns'rnvs HEARING Arthur M. Wengel, Madison, Wis, assignor m sin Ray-O-Vac Company, a corporation of Wiscon- Application February 6, 1939, Serial No. 254,931
This invention relates to a method and apparatus for testing hearing, particularly adapted to enable optimum design of the amplifier of a hearv ing aid device.
One feature of this invention is that it provides a new and improved method and apparatus for testing the hearing of a hard-of-hearing 'person at various frequencies; another feature is that the test conditions in the laboratory or other test location much more nearly than heretofore reproduce the hearing conditions which the hardof-hearing person encounters in every day life; a further feature of this invention is that the testing apparatus provides direct determination of the intensities of sounds produced, without the necessity of additional meters or the like;
. other features and advantages of this invention will be apparent from the following specification and the drawings, in which:
Figure 1 is a circuit diagram of a simple test apparatus embodying my. invention; Figure 2 is a chart illustrative of the operation thereof; and Figure 3 is a schematic diagram of a modified form of my invention...
It is known that the hearing response of the ear of a hard-of-hearing person differs for pure notes of various frequencies, and some effort has heretofore been made to design the amplifier of a hearing aid device to have a frequency-amplification curve inverse to the frequency-response curve of the ear. That is, the amplifier is designed to accentuate those frequencies to which the ear is least responsive and to amplify to a lesser extent those frequencies to which the-ear is particularly' responsive. A hearing aid device having an ampllfierof this type has been disclosed in my earlier co-pending application, Serial No. 129,514, filed March 6, 1937.
Heretofore, however, audiometers or test.apparatus used to determine the frequency response curve of the ear of a hard-of-hearing person have all been capable of determining only the threshold curve or the pain curve. That is, such previously used test apparatus has-had means for producing notes of any desired frequency in the audio range and means for varying the intensity The threshold and pain curves seldom, if ever, have the same form; and I have found that hearing response at intermediate points may differ from the shape of both curves. In the normal affairs of every day life it is the intermediate 5 area, and not the threshold curve, which is important. That is, the ears of a person are practically always exposed to a background of sound comprising practically all frequencies; and sounds which it is desired to hear must make themselves audible above such background. A person sitting in an office in the business area of a city, for example, will have his ears exposed to a background of noise produced by street cars, trains,-
motor trafiic, typewriters, telephone conversai5 tions at other desks, and a number of other sources. Under such circumstances the threshold audibility curve determined in a laboratory undersound insulated conditions is of little value in designing a hearing aid device.
My invention comprises a method and apparatus for testing hearing in the intermediate area corresponding to normal usage, and comprises means for producing a background sound having a substantially uniform frequency distribution and a test sound, as a note of substantially a single frequency, with means for successively varyin the frequency of the test sound and for determining at each such frequency the intensity necessary to render the note audibleabove the background sound. I then design the frequency-amplification curve of the amplifierof my hearing aid device inversely to the curve thus determined,
ignoring the threshold curve. I
In the particular embodiment of my invention 85 illustrated herewith in Figure 1, a buzzer I0 driven by a battery II or similar source of power, is adapted to produce an electrical current comprised of practically all frequencies, the distribution of frequencies being substantially uniform 40 through the audio range. That is, the buzzer is adapted to produce substantially all frequencies in the audio range simultaneously and at uniform intensity. While'some buzzers tend to accentuate a certain frequency or portion of the fre 5 quency range, a buzzer can be chosen which does not do this; or this particular portion of the frequency range can be flattened down to the same level as the others by conventional filter means. Such means would form no part of the present invention, and are therefore not illustrated here.
The current produced by the buzzer is here shown as being applied to a resistor I! as a load,
the voltage developed across such resistor being amplified by the tube I3. and delivered to the primary .of a transformer. l4. The secondary of l1 and [8. That is, at a given setting all three resistors might have a value of 500 ohms; and if the control knob were turned to reduce the value of resistor l9 to 300 ohms the other two resistors ll'and I 8 would be simultaneously increased to 700 ohms each; Thus the impedances into which -the two transformers l4 and I look is always maintained the same, even though the amount of current delivered to the transformer Hi can be varied to any desired intensity. The current pro-' ducing means Ill-and the amplifying tube 13 should, of course, be so designed and operated that the intensity of their output is constant;
theiintensity of. current reaching the upper half of the transformer li will then always be a direct function ,ofthe setting of the control knob ofthe T pad" I} andthis control knob may be calibrated to furnish a direct indication of intensity' as well as a control therefor.
The lower. part of the figure shows means for producing a noteof any desired frequency in the audio range. For example, it is here shown as comprising a variable audio oscillator 20 of any conventional type, not further illustrated here;
a resistor 2| as a, load for such oscillator and an amplifying tube 22; As described in connection with the upper half of Figure 1, the output of the tube 22' is delivered through a transformer 23 to a circuit network including a calibrated variable T pad orresistance network 24 which in turn isconnected to the lower halfofithe' -pri-' mary of transformer l6.' The background 'soun d,
furnished by the upper half of the apparatus and the note of any desired frequency produced by the lower halfare thus mixed in the, transformer 16.. The resultant current in the secondary of such transformer IQ is delivered to atranslating device such as an earphone 25, where the current is transformed into'corresponding physical air or sound waves.. v
In using my method and apparatus to test the hearing of a person the audio oscillator 20 may be left inoperative and the intensity of the background sound, varied to determine the threshold value (here indicated by the dotted line 30) and the beginningof the pain level (here indicatedby the dotted line 3|); and, if desired, the source of background sound may be rendered inoperative and'thepure note source used, at various frequencies and intensities, to determine the threshold curve (here illustrated as 33). Inas-' much as the ear generally loses first its ability to distinguish high notes, the present illustrative chart shown in.Figure 2 shows no response to frequencies above 6000 pain. v
It will be noted that the two curves differ considerably in shape. Moreover, the useable hearing range between the nvaries considerably at cycles per second without different frequencies, being relatively smallaround 2000 cycles, for example, and relatively great around 3000 cycles. I
010 on the ear of the bearer.
By taking full advantage of my testing method and apparatus, however, the area lying between these curves 32 and-33 may be explored. The
intensity of the background sound may be set at a good average level here indicated by the dotted line 34, which level may be chosen after consideration of the threshold and pain curves. The audio oscillator may-then be run through the frequency range, the control for pad 24 being varied at each test frequency to determine the minimum intensity audible above the background sound. It is understood that during this testing the control of the resistance network I would be left in va fixed position, and that of the network '24 varied at each new frequency to which the audio'oscillator 20 was changed. Notation of the various minimum audible intensities, read directly from the calibrations of the control of the resistance network 24, would give a hearing response curve which might be of the type here represented by the line 35.
This curve would represent the hearing response of. the hard-of-hearing person to desired sounds under ordinary conditions when background sound was present. The frequency-ampliflcation curve of the amplifying portion ofthe hearing aid device is then'designed to be inverse to this .curve 35. ,Theresult is a hearing aid device of much improved character, giving the desired apparent flat response to be heard by the user.
Another form of apparatus embodying my into sound desired 'vention is shown in Figure 3. In this modification the background sound is supplied by a current generated by an oscillator 40. This sound is passed through a T-pad impedance network 4| similar to those described in connection with Figure 1, and impressed across half of a transformer 42. This transformer serves to combine with the background sound a test sound generated in the audiometer 43. This audiometer, for example, may consist of the lower half of the circuit illustrated in Figure 1', adapted to provide a note of substantially a single frequency, although variableboth as to frequency and intensity. The resultant combined currents are supplied by the secondary of the transformer 42 to the earphone or similar translating mechanism 44, where they are transformed into physical sound waves.
In this particular form of the invention the background sound, as was stated above, is created by an oscillator of conventional type, wherefeeding part of the plate energy to the grid circontrolled by a tuned circuit. cuit, as is usual, may include. two impedances as a coil of fixed inductance and a variable condenser, here shown as 45. In practice, this condenser is of the usual type with interleaved rotor and stator plates, except that no stop is provided and the rotor plates can be revolved continuously by rotation of the condenser shaft 46. Such rotation, of course, continuously varies the frequency of the electrical wave generated by the oscillator.
The maximum and minimum values of the condenser should be so chosen, in relation to the in ductance associated withit, that substantially the entire range of audible frequencies is covered by in 'an electronic tube is set into oscillation by stantially the entire range of audible frequencies. The means for continuously varying the obndenser is here shown as a motor 41' which drives a pulley 48 on the shaft 46 of the variable condenser through a belt or similar means IS.
The above described form 'of my invention is used to test hearing in substantially the same way as that heretofore described in connection with Figures 1 and 2. It differs principally in that it has a positive and controlled means insuring generation of a background sound covering substantially the entire audible range, rather than merely depending on the action of a, buzzer.
I also find that varying the intensity of the background sound at dififerent frequencies is useful in testing an ear to determine the optimum tween the oscillator and the T-pad, the background, sound can be made to assume any desired frequency-intensity characteristic curve. For example, it could be made. to conform to the threshold hearing curve 32 in Figure 2, rather than being a background of the same intensity at all frequencies. Under such circumstances the background sound can be arranged to be a given intensity above threshold at all frequencies.
While I have described and claimed certain embodiments of my inventionit is to be understood that it is capable of many modifications. Changes, therefore, in the construction and arrangement may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of theinvention as disclosed in the appended claims, in which it is my intention to claim all novelty inherent in my invention as broadly as permissible in view of the prior art.
1. The method of testing hearing, comprising producing a backgroundsound which, in its effect on the ear, apparently covers substantially the entire range of audible frequencies simultaneously, producing a test sound, applying said background sound and said test sound to the ear being tested, and determining the intensity of the test sound necessary to make it audible above the background sound. I a
2. The method of testing hearing, comprising producing a background sound having, in its effect on the ear, an apparently simultaneous substantially uniform frequency distribution. setting the intensity of said sound ata desired level, producing a note of substantially a single frequency, applying said background sound and said note to the ear being tested, determining the intensity of said note necessary to make the same audible above the background sound, and successively producing notes of other frequencies and deter-' mining the intensity necessary to make each audible. v
'3. The method of making a laboratory test of hearing to enable proper design of the frequency-, amplification curve of the amplifier of a hearing aid device, comprising producing a background sound having, in its efiect'on the car, an apparently simultaneous substantially uniform frequency distribution and a desired intensity, delivering thesame to the ear being tested, successively producing and delivering to the same ear a plurality of notes each comprising substantially only a single frequency, and determining the minimum intensity of each such note necessary to'make the same audible above the background sound. v
4. Apparatus of the character described for testing hearing, including: means for producing an electrical current comprising, in its ultimate effect on the ear, a simultaneous substantially' uniform distribution of audio frequencies; means for varying the intensity of said current; means for producing a second current of substantially a single frequency; means for varying the intensity of said second current; means for combining said currents; and means for translating said combined currents into corresponding physical sound waves.
5 Apparatus of the character claimed in claim 4, wherein said second current producing means is adapted to produce a current'of any desired frequency in the audio range.
6. Apparatus of the character claimed in claim 4, wherein said intensity varying means are calibratedto enable direct determination of intensities therefrom.
7. Apparatus of the character described for testing hearing, including: means for producing an electric current comprising. in its ultimate effeet on an ear, a simultaneous substantially uniform distribution of audio frequencies; a calibrated variable impedance in the form of a T network for simultaneously varying and determining the intensity of said current; means for producing a second current of substantially a single. frequency; a calibrated variable impedance in the form r a -r network for simultaneously varying and determining the intensity ofth'e sec ondcurrent; and means for combining the cur-'- rents and translating the combined currents into corresponding physical sound waves.
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